Our Medical Philosophies
Medical science seems to advance every day. New discoveries may enhance or conflict with existing knowledge, and at Stream Valley, we do our best to keep current with the best standards of care. Below is some information about how we try to maintain a balance for your pets' healthcare:
The Yin and Yang of Eastern and Western Veterinary Medicine
Healthcare, healthcare, healthcare. It's been in the news and on our minds so much, and while we may not all share the same outlook on the issue, we do ultimately have the same goal: to keep our families and ourselves fit and well.
To that end, many of us like to keep our options open in terms of "traditional" and "alternative" care for any ailments we may have. It is not uncommon for us to have access to "Eastern" medicine, treatments, and techniques, such as acupuncture, massage, or holistic nutrition. And perhaps not surprisingly, these options are increasingly available for our pets as well. Veterinarians can gain certification in areas of Eastern medicine, and you will find that some label themselves as "Holistic Veterinarians."
Eastern medicine is a relatively new and certainly exciting component of mainstream veterinary medicine. In conjunction with traditional ("Western") treatments, Eastern methods do have the potential to speed recovery or ease pain for pets who suffer from a myriad of ailments, from arthritis to anxiety to cancer. The key here, however, is "in conjunction;" American veterinary medicine has been based on "Western science" for so long because it works. There are undeniable benefits to alternative treatments, but all natural or holistic does not necessarily mean 100 percent safe and effective. For example, with a diagnosis of cancer, herbal supplements and acupuncture may be a holistic treatment option. These are non-invasive techniques, and they may lead to a positive outcome. Yet surgical tumor removal and subsequent chemotherapy might, and often does, lead to a better prognosis. In this case, we would say that Western medicine is more practical. You cannot explain to your pet the details of an anesthetic and surgical event to allay her fears, but in the end, an unpleasant procedure now can give her better quality of life down the road.
If there is one unshakable lesson to learn from Eastern teachings, it is that we must find balance in life to take good care of the body and spirit that each of us is given?and this is true for us and our pets. Maintaining good overall health helps prevent certain illnesses. Additionally, it gives you an edge if you do develop an illness or injury; genetics also play a role in terms of lifetime health, so unfortunately organic foods and daily exercise cannot always stave off diabetes or joint degeneration. In such instances, scientific intervention with medications can be vital. Therefore, we urge careful attention to balance and healthy lifestyle, in the holistic sense, along with a willingness to treat according to Western science.
As veterinary professionals, we embrace the fact that medical care can come in many forms. It is good to have options, and we are so fortunate that treatments can sometimes be tailored to fit the financial, spiritual, or lifestyle needs of each family. Veterinary medicine (and human medicine!) does not have to be surgery OR massage, antibiotics OR herbal supplements; frequently, you can have both. And while we don't intend to spark a large scientific debate, know that standards of veterinary care call for what is most reliable and practical, which is most often based in "Western science."